Ok: You’ve heard a lot about storytelling, and probably in your informal environment, you storytell a lot . . . sharing experiences, memories, and how you’ve encountered problems, and solved them. If you’ve been successful in your business, your clients also likely have been telling positive stories about your business to your face and behind your back.
Yet, if you are like most architectural, engineering or construction leaders, you’ll probably still be publishing the canned project descriptions, sharing your “Grip and grin” photos — perhaps with golden shovels at formal ground-breaking ceremonies — and bragging about your community/customer service.
It isn’t so bad. We all do it. It is easy and safe to follow what you conceive to the be the correct party line for marketing and communications messages. It takes some courage (and maybe some redirected resources) to change your way of doing things.
Here are some suggestions for breaking out of the standard framework and achieving story telling success.
Start with your clients — see if they will share their stories/experiences.
If you can encourage your clients to describe their success stories with your business, you’ll succeed. This may simply be by asking — not too hard, usually for your best and most loyal clients. Often this can be the most rapid approach.
Give a little (or a lot) sincerely.
Your community contributions and your genuine voluntary support will set the stage for rewards — though you must never expect or anticipate these. The selfless approach to relationship and business-building requires some counter-intuitive thinking and plenty of patience — since you cannot expect nor plan on the rewards, when they happen, they can be overwhelmingly effective. (But if you look for them, you won’t find them.)
Contract/hire a professional writer/storyteller to help you find and communicate your stories.
You’ll spend a little money here, but the rewards can be incredible. Consider a writer like Tess Witttler. Advertisers in any of our publications receive my services, free. Allow the outsider with story-telling capacity freedom to research and write the stories as they think best. Obviously they’ll allow you to review their work.
Tomorrow: The storytelling week’s conclusion.